Interviews and testimonies

loringFather Jorge Loring and Garabandal

LET'S GO TO GARABANDAL

 Father Jorge Loring Miró, S.J., was a great Spanish apologist, author of the best seller To Save You and well known for television appearances and lectures around the world, especially the two thousand talks he gave on the Holy Shroud. He died on December 25, 2013 at age 92, leaving an enormous legacy of surrender to God and love for the Church. Fr. Loring never hid his conviction about the supernatural nature of Garabandal's phenomena. Román Martínez del Cerro, intimate friend of Fr. Loring and witness of Garabandal's events, explains so in this article.


 

pemanJosé María Pemán and Garabandal

AN EXPERIENCE  IN GARABANDAL

 

 


Román Martínez del Cerro was an eyewitness of the apparitions at San Sebastián de Garabandal during eleven days in July 1962. His father, Miguel Martínez del Cerro, was a good friend of the prestigious, Spanish writer who cultivated all literary genres: José María Pemán. Both professors worked together in the summer classes at the University of Seville in Cádiz. In this article, Román relates the moment in which his father told José María Pemán about his experience in Garabandal. José María Pemán never stated his opinion publicly on the topic, however it is likely that his friendship and appreciation for Miguel Martínez del Cerro inclined him toward an openness to the possibility of the supernatural character of the events, awaiting the Church’s final statement.

If I had to summarize in one sentence the sensations I perceived at San Sebastián de Garabandal during those eleven days I spent there in July 1962, I would say: “Our Blessed Mother’s happy and delightful visit.”

A visit fills and marks your whole life.

This quote of St. Peter’s on Mount Tabor comes to mind: “It is well that we are here.”

What else can one say before a divine manifestation?
As soon as he arrived to Cosío, the first town that had a telegraph, my father wrote a telegram to the Bishop at the time of Cádiz and Ceuta, Antonio Añoveros, communicating the astounding and joyful experience of eleven days in Garabandal. He also promised him a visit to give full details of such marvelous events. If a correspondence archive exists in the Bishopric in Cádiz, the telegraph I am referring to is probably stored there with the date July 23, 1962.

The need to tell the amazing experience does not end there. There were many talks and even a duplicated publication made over the following days. Even the most unlikely places became occasions to spread the experience. I will tell you a story:
At the University of Seville in Cádiz, there were Summer Courses at the end of July and the beginning of August. José María Pemán was the rector and my father, Miguel Martínez del Cerro was the Head of Studies. Fundamentally the university students that attended were foreigners. Classes were in the morning, and in the afternoon there were concerts, theatrical performances, dances, conferences, etc. At the end of the morning they took the students in bus to Victoria Beach in Cádiz.

Shortly after returning from Garabandal, José María Pemán and my father went to the beach with the students, in suit and tie because of their position as professors. Since my father had a tremendous need to tell someone about the marvelous and joyful days he spent in Garabandal, he made the most of the occasion to tell his friend José María Pemán about it. Of course, Pemán did not go unnoticed on the beach. Neither did my father, although a bit less. But the amazing story that he was telling, went even less unnoticed. When both of them realized this, they were surrounded by swimmers, students and curious people who listened, astonished, to the stories he told.

That joy impelled him to write this simple poem on August 22, 1962:

The Queen of Heaven’s
Eyes I saw one day.
I saw them reflected
In the eyes of a few girls.

Speak no more of pain to me.
Now I know what joy is!
The Queen of Heaven’s
Eyes I saw one day.

Cádiz, July 29, 2019
Román Martínez del Cerro

 

laffineurFather Laffineur

GARABANDAL MISSIONARY

 

 


Father Materne Laffineur was one of the first promoters of the apparitions in Garabandal outside Spain. Witness of several ecstasies, confidant of the seers, zealous priest and of a deep spirituality, he gathered his experiences and reflections on Garabandal in a book entitled The Star on the Mountain.
Sixteen medals received in the two wars he took part in show how much he is worth. We will find his deep spirituality and love for the Virgin of Garabandal in the following passages—taken from his letters and notebooks—included in the remembrance card that were given to his family and friends after his death.
Below, we offer the full translation of Father Laffineur's remembrance card, as a tribute to this priest in love with Most Holy Mary of Garabandal.

“Jesus, Jesus, oh Jesus!” (These were his last words).

Lord, through the intercession of Our Lady of Garabandal, grant eternal joy and happiness to our dear Father Materne Laffineur.

Born in Walcourt Belgium on August 27, 1897

Veteran of two wars (16 medals)

Ordained priest in Namur, Belgium, on November 22, 1924

Dominican
Collaborator of the canonical process of the apparitions of Beauraing, Belgium
Parish priest of Rousseloy (Oise, France) from 1949 to 1957 and successively of Mars-sur-Allier (Nièvre, France) from 1957 to 1967

Tireless missionary of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Called by God on November 28, 1970 in an outburst of love for Jesus and Mary

Mom and all of you, my beloved, you offered me the good God. I gave myself completely to Him through and in the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Rejoice, I am happy. Oh, I thank you so much!
Priest and soldier. My God, how beautiful!

(In the trenches. August 26, 1917).

Once I had a dream that I lived in the time of Joan of Arc simply to be one of her men of arms, at her side to fight like her and with her
(October 15, 1967).

Not knowing how to take risks
means no longer being a leader.
Living
is acting
fighting
being moved,
moving others...
It is winning!
Cardinal Mercier (Maxim that Fr. Laffineur took as his own)

Garabandal!
We must fight.
We must be generals.
We must have an army,
and lead it to victory.
Living Garabandal,
is the perfect dream.
It is the most beautiful of adventures.

(October 15, 1967. Fr. Laffineur)

Pray for my conversion.
Yes, from a little love to Jesus... to a lot of love to Jesus (1969).

The Lord leads me along an often very painful path that is simply the great intellectual life of reason.
There is never anything useless in our life. “Where God directs us everything is providential.”
How beautiful life is for brave and invincible soldiers with a child's heart!

(May or June 1969)

Let us remain united, small as our dear Thérèse, but firm in the faith, as St. Peter desires: "Estote fortes in fide." Firmness that gives freedom and keeps the faith of the flock unshakable
(January 13, 1970).

The gifts of the Holy Spirit take care of everything, especially piety. Living it herself in a prodigious way, Thérèse was responsible for explaining it to the world. We are the "infinitely small children of his Love," and our song is the Magnificat of the smallest of all: Our Lady of Garabandal (March 19, 1970).

We know very well that the world must be redeemed through blood, true blood. Also that of our hearts (March 28, 1970).

I thank God for having grown old with his Merciful Love (April 1, 1970).

Nothing is impossible for those who have faith, because you have to live bare faith (August 26, 1970).

There is no other life, no other way than that of penance, sacrifice and humiliation. The climb to Mount Carmel is always that way, and in Garabandal, too.
Because Garabandal is the solitude of Carmel... it is the solitude of John of the Cross, the solitude of Teresa of Ávila and also the solitude of Thérèse (August 26, 1970).

In the spiritual life, it is sometimes necessary to be a little crazy. It is necessary to have that madness of faith, this madness of love... It is necessary to have what goes beyond what one can see and hear. It is necessary to give oneself (August 26, 1970).

My wishes: Jesus! I ask of You just one thing: to love you more and more, and one day die of love. You are free to choose the external expressions of this love, the visible way of my death.
Mother, You who from the mountain of Garabandal look upon the horizon where we are tonight, come. Descend. Stay. Take us in your arms and finish what you started (August 27, 1970).

The moment is grave... All right! If necessary, I offer myself in martyrdom (August 30, 1970).

From the mystical depths of our Garabandal, onward in union with Jesus and with Our Lady for the salvation of souls, through and in this union (November 18, 1970).

pmorelosFr. Gustavo Morelos

THE BISHOP OF JALAPA, MEXICO, AND GARABANDAL

 

 


Fr. Gustavo Morelos was a Mexican priest who passed away on March 7, 2015, at 87 years of age. He had news of what was taking place in San Sebastián de Garabandal in 1965, when the apparitions were in their final stages. He managed to spend nearly three months in Garabandal that very year, studying the phenomena and interviewing the girls, their parents and siblings, and several witnesses. He lived to see his nephew’s surprising recovery from an illness doctors considered hopeless (read the article here). He always attributed this healing to the Virgin of Garabandal. Since then and until his death, he worked to spread the messages of Garabandal.

Faithful son of the Church as he was, in each diocese he sought the bishop’s permission before speaking about Garabandal. Thanks to this, we conserve a series of interesting documents that testify to the positive reception of the messages of Garabandal by Mexican bishops. These documents also contribute important references to the information the bishops had about Garabandal and why they felt moved to open their diocese to Fr. Morelos’ work.

In this letter, dated July 8, 1966, Manuel Pío López, Archbishop of Jalapa, Mexico, approves and blesses the spreading of Garabandal’s messages in his diocese. Firstly, he does so because of the content of the messages, which contain, “opportune, useful and salutary warnings to obtain eternal salvation.” Secondly, he approves and blesses the spreading of the messages because of the testimony of Msgr. Philippi, an official of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

 

Below is the text of the letter. Here you can see the original scanned version. (Spanish only)

Fr. Gustavo Morelos


Dear Father,

Taking into account the indications of the Holy See and the Ordinary of Santander, Spain, as well as those prescribed by the Code of Canon Law, we approve and bless the publishing of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary’s message in Garabandal in our Archdiocese. In the light of Divine Revelation, we know that there is a great need for more prayer and sacrifice; for reverence for the Holy Eucharist and the Blessed Virgin Mary; and for obedience, love, and filial adherence to the Vicar of Christ and the Holy Church.

Therefore, we do not find anything contrary to the Faith and customs in this message, attributed to the Blessed Virgin Mary; rather we consider them opportune, useful, and salutary warnings to obtain eternal salvation.

It has been characteristic of those who received these apparitions to obey the Church’s dispositions promptly and with filial respect. This is a certain indication for all of us that God is at work here.

The Holy Church has manifested great prudence in this important matter through attentive study and pastoral vigilance, and by no means through prohibition and rejection.

One of the officials of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Msgr. Philippi, declared to Fr. Elias, Superior of the Carmel in the city of Puebla, that he consulted in Rome about the Blessed Virgin Mary’s apparitions in Garabandal. He was told that the fact that Saint Pio, recognized for his virtue, wisdom, and adherence to the Holy See, approves these apparitions and encourages the four girls to propagate the Blessed Virgin Mary’s message, is proof of their veracity.

Given at Jalapa of the Immaculate on July 8, 1966

Manuel Pío López, Archbishop of Jalapa, Mexico

juanhervasDr. Juan Hervás Palazón

INTERVIEW


 

Juan A. Hervás Palazón is a medical physician, university professor and specialist in pediatrics. He has developed his professional life in the United States (Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Harvard Medical School) and in Spain (Valencian Community and Mallorca), where he has been the head of the Pediatric Department in two hospitals. He has recently retired.

Juan, why does a doctor believe in the apparitions of Garbandal?
Well, to believe in something, you have to be familiar with it. Twenty-five years ago I was fortunate to have heard about the apparitions of Garabandal from a priest and a bishop who were both from Mallorca: Fr. Miguel Lliteras and Bishop Damián Nicolau. They were both convinced that the apparitions were true.

I spent a week in Garabandal with Fr. Lliteras at Conchita’s brother’s home—Conchita was the main visionary of the apparitions. Listenting to what her brother told us, reading about everything written about Garabandal, and meeting other eye witnesses of the events, I became convinced that the phenomena did not have a natural explanation and that it could only be explained from a supernatural point of view.

What really happened there?
To sum up, what happened was the following: from 1961 to 1965 four girls (between the ages of 11 and 12) assisted at more than 2000 apparitions of the Virgin Mary in a remote, mountainous village in northern Spain, in the Cantabrian part of the Picos de Europa, or “Peaks of Europe.” I closely read the medical reports about everything from the pediatrician of Santander, Dr. Celestino Ortiz and the Catalonian psychiatrist, Dr. Puncernau, while also having the reports of other doctors who evaluated the girls. They all coincided in pointing out that the girls were normal, that they did not have any psychiatric pathology of any kind, and that what they observed did not have any natural explanation.

The girls went into ecstasy simultaneously, even when they were in different places. They began with an abrupt hyperextension of the head and had ocular and skin anesthesia (they did not notice lights being shined in their eyes, pintches, skin burnings, etc.); they became stiff and their bodily weight increased inexplicably (four people were unable to move them); the laws of gravity ceased to exist and they levitated or took on postures with anti-gravitational movements that were absolutely impossible; they seemed to race in ecstasy at an incredible velocity without sweating or increasing their heart rate; they went forwards and backwards, on foot or kneeling, going up and down the mountain (they went backwards down the mountain, which is humanly impossible); and eyewitnesses indicated that even under heavy rain they were not wet while they were in ecstasy. Moreover, the girls demonstrated other absolutely inexplicable phenomena, among which may be noted: knowledge of the thoughts or life of people, being able to recognize people (priested dressed as seculars, unmarried couples, etc.) or objects already kissed by the Virgin Mary, in addition to returning to each person their rosary or wedding rings kissed by the Virgin Mary without ever confusing them, without looking, and without previously being able to know whose they were.

Why, then, were the apparitions not approved by the Church?
We must say that the apparitions of Garabandal have never been condemned by the Church. As a matter of fact, they are open to later studies under the term “not confirmed to be of supernatural origin,” an expression which means “we do not know at the current moment.” Many other apparitions have been in this situation until they were finally approved. When the apparitions began, the Bishop of Santander named a psychiatrist, Dr. Luis Morales, aided by another doctor (Dr. Piñal), for what we could call an attempt to form a study commission. Nevertheless, both Dr. Morales and Dr. Piñal did not fulfill their responsibility. They went to the village very few times (less than five) and said that it was a girls’ game, without relying on the doctors’ reports who really studied them. Years later, specifically in 1983, Dr. Morales publicly retracted and said that his report was all a lie in a conference he gave at the Ateneo of Santander.

The number of contemporary saints and blesseds that believed in Garabandal has always drawn my attention, and they have been absolutely documented: Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Mother Esperanza, Mother Maravillas of Jesus, John Paul II, and others who are currently in the process of being beatified like Fr. Nieto, Marta Robin, or Fr. Gobbi. We have also known that St. Josemaría Escrivá, founder of Opus Dei, went up to Garabandal on three occasions in the summer of 1962.

But above all, it is well known that Pope Paul VI was very interested in the apparitions, which he knew about through Fr. Laffineur, and that he called Conchita to the Vatican where she went with Fr. Luna. Once there, he said, “Conchita, I bless you and with me the entire Church.” Paul VI, during an audience with the Jesuit priest, Fr. Escalada, concerning the apparitions of Garabandal said: “It is the most beautiful story of humanity since the birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ. It is like the second life of the Most Holy Virgin on earth and there are not enough words to give thanks.” On several occasions, both Paul VI and John Paul II, when asked if the apparitions could be made known publicly, said, “Make them known.” The truth of this information is absolutely confirmed.

Nonetheless, if the support of the Popes concerning supposed apparitions is important, the approval of them necessarily passes through the local bishop, and the ordinary’s decision usually receives the posterior approval of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and finally the ratification of the Pope.

Garabandal’s case is, therefore, in a situation of waiting for new studies or events and, in my opinion, it will continue as such until the prophetic part is confirmed in relation to the future warning and miracle.

What happened to the girls as they got older?
All of them got married. Three went to live in the US when they got married to Americans, and one lives in Spain. It should be noted that the visionaries have all been humble and pious woman, faithful to the Church and what the Bishop of Santander has requested of them. The few times they spoke during the eighties was with the permission of the Bishop of Santander, Bishop Val, and they have lived a hidden life dedicated to their families. Today, three of them are still alive.

With what intention did the Virgin Mary appear in Garbandal?
The Virgin Mary in Garabandal showed herself as Our Mother concerned about us, her children: “Speak to me about my children,” and “Tell my children,” are frequent words in her conversations with the girls. What also stands out is her maternity in the words of the Hail Mary which she taught the girls: “Holy Mary, Mother of God and Our Mother,” and that we, who love these apparitions of the Virgin Mary, so like to recite in the Holy Rosary. Equally amazing in these apparitions is the Virgin Mary’s very human manner of treating the girls, and it is surprising (and perhaps scandalizing for some) that she even played with them, just like an earthly mother would, and that she was concerned about everything that had to do with them and those who lived in or visited the village. These apparitions have unique aspects in the history of Marian apparitions.

Nonetheless, the Virgin came to Garabandal to give a message to the whole world. Our Lady of Garabandal gave two messages and they are the following:

The first message of October 18, 1961:

“We must make many sacrifices, do much penance, and visit the Blessed Sacrament frequently. But first, we must lead good lives. If we do not, a chastisement will befall us. The cup is already filling up, and if we do not change, a very great chastisement will come upon us.”

The second message of June 18, 1965 (through St. Michael the Archangel since it was hard for her to do it):

“As my message of October 18 has not been fulfilled and has not been made known to the world, I tell you that this is my last message. Before, the cup was filling up. Now, it is overflowing. Many cardinals, many bishops, and many priests are on the road to perdition and are taking many souls with them. Less and less importance is being given to the Eucharist. You should turn the wrath of God away from yourselves by your efforts. If you ask for His forgiveness with sincere hearts, He will forgive you. I, your Mother, through the intercession of Saint Michael the Archangel, ask you to amend your lives. You are now receiving the last warnings. I love you very much and do not want your condemnation. Pray to us with sincerity, and we will grant your requests. You should make more sacrifices. Meditate on the Passion of Jesus.”

To sum up, the apparitions of Garabandal are meant to remind us about the following aspects of the Church’s doctrine: the Virgin Mary is Our Mother (“I am your Mother”), to believe in God and love Him, to be good, to repent of sin and do penance, to frequently visit the Blessed Sacrament; that is, to place Jesus (the Eucharist) in the center of our life, and that we should meditate on the Jesus’ Passion. In these apparitions, the Virgin Mary also said something that many did not like and that indeed was difficult to understand at the time. She said, “Priests, Bishops, and Cardinals are on the road to perdition and are taking many souls with them.” It seems very improbable to me that some twelve-year-old girls in a remote place of rural Spain in the sixties could invent something like that, but today we can see how the statement had been totally prophetic if we analyze the current situation of the Church. The Virgin Mary also said that the world would receive a warning of the existence of God, and after, a miracle would occur in Garabandal in which the sick would be cured and sinners converted, and that if we do not change, a chastisement will come.

What benefits can we have if we believe in the apparitions?
For me, specifically, the greatest effect that has taken place has been an increase in my love for the Virgin Mary, and with it, drawing closer to and a greater love for God. Knowing that I am not an orphan, that I have a Mother who loves me and takes care of me, has brought me great joy and great hope. A young 36-year-old priest, Fr. Luis María Andreu, saw the Virgin Mary one day at the beginning of the apparitions, and that same night, when he left the village in the car he said, “How lucky we are to have such a good Mother in heaven. Today is the happiest day of my life.” And saying that, he died. He did not have any known illness, nor did he show any sign to make you think it was a heart attack. I also believe that Fr. Andreu died of pure happiness.

 

mariasimmaMaria Simma, the Souls in Purgatory, and Garabandal

"IT WILL BE SOMETHING FOR THE CONVERSION OF HUMANITY"


 

Maria Simma was born on February 2, 1915, in a small town in Austria called Sonntag. Since childhood, her dream was to surrender her life to God in a religious order, but due to her weak physical constitution, she was rejected by three different communities. At first, Maria did not understand why the Lord did not allow her to fulfill the desire He had stirred in her to consecrate herself. Over time, she gradually understood that the consecration the Lord asked of her would not take place in a religious community, but in a demanding service of charity toward the poorest souls in Purgatory.

She received the first “visit” from a soul in Purgatory one night in 1940 when she was 25 years old. During the first years, until 1953, only two or three souls visited her each year, usually during the month of November. In 1954 a Marian Year was proclaimed by Pope Pius XII on the occasion of the Proclamation of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception. During that year the souls visited Maria every night. When the jubilee year ended, the visits became somewhat fewer, but normally they were not less than three or four visits a week. A few days before the Marian Year began, Maria Simma began to suffer mystical sufferings in expiation for the souls in Purgatory.  At times, she felt as if her limbs were being pulled violently. Other times, it was as if she was being violently stabbed with sharp knives over her entire body. The sufferings in expiation for the pains caused by abortion or impurity consisted of terrible stomach pains and nausea. On other occasions, she felt as if she were lying among blocks of ice for hours. The cold penetrated her to the bone. These were the sufferings in reparation for lukewarmness and religious coldness.

However, neither her sufferings nor her extraordinary experiences made Maria withdraw into herself. On the contrary, all who knew her bore witness to the fact that Maria was always friendly to those who went to her to entrust all kinds of spiritual sufferings or trials until the day she died: March 16, 2004. She was exemplary in the practice of self-denial, with a spirit of sacrifice and poverty. When they asked her why God permitted the experiences she had, she replied, “God allows it so that, through my apostolate, other people may understand clearly that our time on earth is meant for gaining Heaven.”

There is an interesting book from 1993 entitled, Get Us Out of Here!! Maria Simma Speaks With Nicky Eltz, by Nicky Eltz. It is the finished product of over thirty interviews carried out during about five years. In this book, Maria Simma describes her experiences with candid simplicity and responds wisely to the interviewer’s countless questions. Certainly Maria Simma’s testimony must be studied and evaluated by the Church, and we remit it to the Church’s judgment. Nonetheless, I know several people who have read this book and I can assure that having read it has not left them indifferent. In the first place, it shows the souls in Purgatory as our real brothers and sisters who are in need of our help and compassion. It also spurs readers on to a greater love for God, helps one to understand how much is still left to give to God if we do not want to atone for our sins and omissions in Purgatory, and how to live the Eucharist with greater devotion. Moreover, in several moments and manners, this book touches on Our Blessed Mother’s messages and the warnings she gave in the apparitions in San Sebastian de Garabandal. I thought we could benefit greatly studying and reflecting upon them.

We find the first reference to Garabandal in Maria Simma’s words a few pages into the book. Nicky Eltz had not asked about Garabandal. His question was, “Do the holy souls in Purgatory know what is going to happen?” However, Maria responded by making reference to something that is very similar to what we know as the “Warning” in Garabandal, one of the prophetic events announced to the visionaries by the Virgin Mary. These are Maria Simma’s words: “Yes, they know something, but not everything. They told me that something very important is going to happen, and that it is approaching. For many years they said that it was “in front of the door,” but since May 1993 they used the expression “at the door.” It will be something for the conversion of humanity.”

Simma is conscious of the fact that it is difficult to believe such an answer. Therefore, to the souls and her own credibility, she points out two situations in which the souls warned her of things that shortly afterward were fulfilled: “On a smaller scale, they have told me about things that happened shortly afterwards. During the summer of 1954, they warned me about the floods that did so much damage to this region. On another occasion they also told me that there were still people under the snow after an avalanche. The rescue teams prolonged their search and sure enough managed to find and save those people two days after they were asked to please continue the search.”  Some pages further along, the interviewer asks about upcoming events again.  “Have the souls told you anything specific about their future?” Maria Simma responds, alluding once again to something that seems to have to do with the prophecies in Garabandal “Not in detail, but, on several occasions, they have said that something very important is at the door; it is right in front of us. But I do not know if I will still be here to see it. Like I said before, it will come from God and will be for the conversion of all. God will make his existence very clear, but even so, not everyone will convert his or her heart to Him.” Later on, Maria insists, “I think that God will reveal Himself very, very soon because we have gone too far away from Him.”

Nicky Eltz asks Maria Simma a very serious question, “What could you tell me about Satan and the activity he carries out currently?” to which she responds with an affirmation that should not surprise us too much, for we have the evidence right before us. “He has never been so strong or active as he is nowadays.” Eltz continues, “Why do you think that this is so?” Maria’s answer: “The 20th century is incomparable to any other insofar as apostasy, murder, greed for money and power, hatred, lack of mercy and prayer. It is his century! The fact that he has been so active is also due to Satan’s knowledge of a great event that is going to take place and that will be for the conversion of humanity. He knows that soon his strategy will be noticeably weakened, and he always shouts the loudest before being defeated.” Once again, Maria’s answer indicates something that is very similar to Garabandal’s Warning.

Finally, a point arrives in the conversation in which Maria explains what and where Garabandal is, and how she herself has gone on pilgrimage to it on several occasions: “Garabandal is a mountainous village in Spain where Our Blessed Mother appeared to a group of girls in the 60s. The following warning proceeds from there and is essentially: “A moment will come in which every person on earth will see the condition of his or her own soul, and many will die of fear upon seeing it.” It is the same thing that happens to everyone at the moment of his or her death, but this will happen to all simultaneously.”

To understand the connection between what the souls told Maria Simma and what the Virgin Mary told the girls in Garabandal, all you have to do is read the visionaries’ testimonies. Yet, the fact that each time the souls refer to things that are going to happen, according to Maria Simma’s testimony, it doesn’t fail to leave the impression that they could by referring to the Warning. It is as if they were insisting on the fact that there is nothing more important within our reach than that of the salvation of souls. This is certainly the case if we believe in Everlasting Life, taking our salvation into consideration with deep longings to go to Heaven.

The girls in Garabandal point out that before the Warning comes, the Church will have to go through a “great tribulation,” a difficult trial in which external and internal factors would be included: Persecution: “[The Church] would give the impression of being at the point of perishing,” and a faith crisis: “Many will have left the practice of religion.” The souls in Purgatory corroborate it. This is how Maria Simma describes it: “The souls in Purgatory commented to me that the Church is in the worst state of her history. They have also informed me, though, that the situation would improve and that we ought to have hope. Peaceful times will come. Nonetheless, before this happens, there will be a great storm, but which Our Blessed Mother does not want us to worry about, think of, or assume about. God always takes care of his children. This great storm will include the prophecies of La Salette, which announce that something that we have never seen before is drawing nearer to us. It will also include the prophecies of Fatima, the warning of Garabandal, and the secrets kept by the “children” in Medjugorje.” What we have to pray the most for is the United States. There, they have not suffered a war in their own nation during this century. Pride, greed, occultism, sects, abortion, and materialism abound there. According to what the souls say, what is at the door will affect the United States dramatically.”

Besides the prophecies regarding the Warning, Miracle, and Chastisement, in Garabandal the Virgin Mary gave two public messages. Among the topics that they concern, there as an important warning about the priestly crisis, which escapes the majority of the faithful’s notice, incubated in the heart of the Church: “Many cardinals, many bishops, and many priests are on the road to perdition and are taking many souls with them.” Maria knows that there are many priests, bishops, and cardinals in Purgatory. She also knows that some priests, bishops and cardinals have been lost forever in hell, and she certainly knows that those who are most responsible for the present situation in which the Church finds Herself, are priests. Maria Simma expresses it herself: “The souls in Purgatory told me that the Church today is in a worse state than it ever has been before. The sin of apostasy reigns all over, and priests are considered the most responsible for it. Instead of praying and teaching the Word, it seems as if they run from one place to another to study psychology, rhetoric, accounting, or whatever to learn how to get closer to their public. They are the ones who have to show people how to get closer to Jesus and Mary through prayer and should not try to be conformed or be “up to date” with this very secularized society.”

Before these declarations, Nicky Eltz dares to ask, “Should we be afraid of such warnings?” to which Maria responds, “Only if we are very far from God and full of sin will we have reasons to be afraid, but if we strive to be with Him constantly, we have nothing to fear... We should never, ever become anxious, because fear comes from Satan alone. If we sincerely try to live with God every day, He will protect us from all that is to come. The people who pray will be safe, but those who do not pray will be surprised with their guard lowered and thus unprotected. It is that simple: we have to trust in God and in his Mother with a childlike trust.”

As I said before, Maria Simma’s testimony include private revelations that are still being studied by the Church. Even if the Church came to see signs of the supernatural in Maria Simma’s experiences, they would continue to remain outside the Deposit of Faith. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church points out, the role of private revelations is not “to improve or complete Christ's definitive Revelation, but to help live more fully by it in a certain period of history” (CCC 67). Such is the case. With this, Benedict XVI’s affirmation in the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Verbum Domini, is also true. Private revelation “can have a certain prophetic character (cf. 1 Th 5:19-21) and can be a valuable aid for better understanding and living the Gospel at a certain time; consequently it should not be treated lightly.” Maria Simma’s declarations do not contradict the Faith of the Catholic Church. Moreover, they help us live it more intensely and wholeheartedly, and in this sense we ought to welcome them.

 

madrenieves2Testimony of Mother María de las Nieves García

"SCHOOL MEMOIRS OF CONCHITA"
(1966-1968)


 

1. Admission to the school in Burgos
In 1966, I was the Superior of our school in Burgos. The city of Burgos was the cradle of our Congregation, the Missionary Teaching Sisters of the Immaculate Conception (Concepcionistas Misioneras de la Enseñanza). Mother Carmen Sallés founded our Order in 1892. In 1966 our school was one of the largest schools in the city. As was common in all religious schools, we also had a boarding school. During the academic year of 1966-67, the boarding school was completely full. Since we could not accomodate more borders, I decided not to accept new applications.

I later learned that during that time, Aniceta, Conchita’s mother, came to apply for Conchita’s admission to the boarding school. She came accompanied by Ascensión de Luis Sagredo, better known as Chon de Luis, and by Francisco Sánchez Ventura, professor of Economics at the University of Zaragoza and author of the first book written about Garabandal. Both had been witnesses of the events of Garabandal since the very beginning of the apparitions. At that time, I knew nothing about Garabandal, and had I not followed the news that appeared in the newspapers during those years. Personnel in charge at the boarding school told Aniceta that there were no spots available. After speaking with our chaplain, Fr. Manuel Guerra, they went to apply to another school in Burgos, which also had a boarding school and a good reputation.

At the other school, the superior was not available, so they went to Fr. Manuel Guerra’s home. This priest was personally interested in the case and offered to accompany Aniceta, Conchita’s mother, to come speak with me. Providentially, between their first visit and this second one, one of the boarders had left, and therefore there was a spot open for Conchita. It was then that I found out that Conchita was one of the four visionaries at Garabandal. Fr. Manuel Guerra and Conchita's mother put me up-to-date on what I should know in order to help Conchita in her human and spiritual formation.

We decided that Conchita would remain "undercover" so that the students, her teachers, and the other nuns wouldn’t know who she was. Only the mother superior of our Congregation and I would know. We agreed that Fr. Manuel Guerra would be her confessor, and I would be her spiritual former. They also gave me a list of the people that could visit her, so as to protect her from curious and inconvenient visits.  Conchita's baptismal name is María Concepción, so we all agreed to call her Maria. That name was later used, and avoided her being recognized as "Conchita, the visionary of Garabandal."

Conchita attended our school throughout the year 1966-67 and the first quarter of the next school year. Conchita’s real identity was revealed to the other Sisters and Conchita's school friends a few days before she left the school, according to the Mother General's instructions. Until then, nobody knew anything, which says a lot about the strength of her character. Any comment could have made her the center of attention and would have been an occasion for adolescent vanity, but she knew how to keep quiet and go unnoticed. In addition to a strong character, she demonstrated a maturity uncommon for her age.

Conchita had a very low academic level. I remember her spelling mistakes when she arrived at the school. Although she had attended her village's school with a well-meaning teacher, the teaching resources there were scarce. In addition, during those years in rural Spain, schooling took second place when extra hands were needed in the fields. Mathematics and language were not a priority for a young girl in a remote village in the middle of the Cantabrian mountains. To bring her up-to-date, we gave her general culture courses and a typing course, subjects that most adolescent girls had already studied.

Conchita was very smart, but she had a huge cultural gap. She asked me questions about very elementary things that she was unaware of due to the isolated environment of her village in Santander. She was smart, but not a "know-it-all" kind of a girl. She was very simple, and asked me questions with complete trust. I remember that on one occasion she asked what communism was. She had heard the Blessed Virgin speak about it and she didn’t know what she referred to.

This reminds me of something that happened also to the children of Fatima: when they commented that the Virgin Mary had told them that Russia would spread its mistakes around the world, Francisco said that maybe Our Lady was referring to their uncle Joaquin’s donkey called “Rusa”. Lucia, the oldest of the three shepherds, responded that "Russia" must be the name of a very bad woman.


 2. School life
As I mentioned before, Conchita remained in our school for a full academic year and the first quarter of the next school year. During the school year 1966-67, her stay was full time. She totally immersed herself into our school, and when summer holidays began, she requested to stay for another month.

Conchita found a welcoming environment at the school, and understanding on my part. From the very beginning of the apparitions, she had suffered incomprehension even from those closest to her. Although it is true that many felt admiration for the children when visiting Garabandal, it is also true that they had to carry the cross of misunderstandings and gossip from the very beginning. Conchita herself recounts these facts in the journal she wrote between 1962 and 1963, which is well known since it has been published.

The angel’s first apparition took place on Sunday, June 18, 1961, and in her journal we read the following:
“It was the 19th of June. When we woke up, people were already talking about it. (…) Nobody talked about anything else that day. (…) Most of the people were laughing at us, but we didn’t care, because we knew that it was the truth. These conversations were heard early in the morning while on the way to school.”
And this was nothing more than a glimpse of what awaited them: the sessions with the Commission, the trips to the diocese and bishop’s office of Santander, the interrogations, etc.
In the afternoon, when I was available, Conchita came to find me and we would speak in one of the drawing rooms. I never forced her; she came voluntarily.  A Claretian priest, Father Joaquin María Alonso, who was in Fatima studying Lucia's case for the Congregation of the Faith, found out and came to see me more than once. He spoke with the Mother General and told me that I should write down everything that I spoke about with Conchita, and even if 100 years went by, I should not destroy those memoirs.

In addition to the journal I used to write down our discussions, I also have, among my other papers, Conchita’s diary. I told Conchita that if she needed to,  she could write a diary as an interior relief.  She did so and decided to give me both of her diaries when she left the school, though I had not asked for them. These writings include constant expressions such as these:
“Every day I value less and less the things of this world, and I pray to Mary for everyone.” 
“I love God above all.” “Help me, my God, to do Thy will always.”
“I love you very much, Lord!”
“What great happiness I felt when I saw the Blessed Virgin!”
“Blessed Virgin!” “Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, thank you for helping me so much!” “Until yesterday, I never thought that the Virgin Mary was a daughter of Adam and Eve. This has made me think of her as the daughter of my own father and has made me love her even more. Now she is my mother, friend and sister…”

I tried to instruct Conchita with prudence, listening to what she said, without asking prying questions. We spoke about prayers, the love of Christ, the will of God, the Eucharist, respect for others, faith, and trust in God. Everything is written down in my journal. I had, and still have, a well-rounded opinion of Conchita, with whom I have kept in touch by letter and by phone. I have been with her several times in Fatima, where she has a home and where, when family responsibilities allow, she often stays. Because of all of these facts, I can testify that Conchita is a woman of great character who doesn’t seek to be the center of attention; she is delicate, charitable, and humble. She has a sense of humor and is always seeking to fulfill the will of God. As one of her visionary friends, Maria Cruz, told me, she’s not a saintly "goody-two-shoes." These personal characteristics have been transmitted to the current Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, in a recent letter I wrote to him.

Since her school years, Conchita and I have always kept in touch, and we are united by a great friendship. My diary covers the conversations we had at school, but I also have the diaries that she wrote while attending our school. I have kept everything she communicated to me, personally or in writing.

In reference to Conchita's docility to the Church, I would like to recall something a friend of ours told me. This friend mentioned that two years ago, she was with Conchita in Fatima. They were praying the rosary one evening in their usual spot in the square, about 30 meters from the “Capellina” (little chapel), where no one else was around them. As it is well known, during the rosary in Fatima, a hymn is sung between each decade. Whilst the faithful were singing, this friend turned to Conchita and said, “Conchita, you don't pray the Hail Mary with 'Mother of God and our Mother,' as others from Garabandal do.” She replied, “No, because we should only pray it in private.”

This person also told me, with touch of humor, that because they were far from the rest of the faithful, nobody could hear how they were praying the Hail Mary's. Conchita must understand "private" to mean being alone in her house with the blinds shut.  Her care reaches these limits. She does not want to give the impression, even to her closest friends, that she decides before the Church concerning Garabandal.

But let's go back to the school in Burgos.  With her classmates, she was just one of the group. If she stood out, it was because she was good prankster.  When she was in her village on vacation, she wrote me a letter for the first time. When I opened it, a paper butterfly folded like a jack-in-the-box sprung out of the envelope. These are things that normal girls do for fun.  

When I introduced Conchita to her school companions, I sent four serious and formal girls to accompany her for some time outside the school.  Two of them were later admitted into our Congregation. One of them, very prominent in our missions in Africa, told me that she owed her religious vocation to Conchita.

When Conchita arrived at our school, she was going through a rough time. Despite the good will of the members of the Diocesan Commission, they did not know how to treat Conchita. There were many misinterpretations that caused Conchita to suffer greatly. She also suffered intensely when she remembered her denials and doubts. At this point, I have no difficulty in transcribing literally what I wrote in my journal during those days after speaking with Conchita:

 “We didn’t start with any lie and I can assure you that we did not plan any of this (…)” “It is not true that we rehearsed.  How can they think so? (…)”  “If I were to see the Blessed Virgin again I would feel grief and sadness because of my denials.” “From the 15th of August I had doubts.  I saw everything as if it had been a dream that was already over.”  “But when I deny it, there is something inside me that doesn’t let me be at peace.”

During the many conversations held with Conchita, she often complained about people’s curiosity concerning the Warning, the Miracle, and the Chastisement, while they did not worry about the messages. She told me that people were too focused on the Miracle, and miracles do not always convert people. This can be seen with the Pharisees, who refused to believe despite the miracles that Jesus worked. I talked with her about all the topics that were related to her human and religious formation. But we talked about the Warning, the Miracle, and the Chastisement without dedicating extra time to these subjects. I don’t mind sharing what I wrote in my diary about it:
“I know what the Warning is, but I don’t know when it will happen.  It will come directly from God. It will not be an atomic bomb, for example, since this would be done by men. The Warningnot the Chastisement—will serve as a purification.  It doesn’t mean that people will die, although they could die because of the shock they receive.  It will happen in the sky.  The Blessed Virgen told me the name, but I don’t know what it means.  It is a word that starts with an 'a'. I need to look it up in the dictionary.”

Conchita opened her heart to me with this simplicity, and she found peace in those conversations. We also prayed together in our chapel, and when we were alone there, we knelt down in the presbytery to be closer to the Tabernacle. She found so much peace during those months! When her mother decided to take her out of the school, she cried in my arms when we had to say goodbye. Conchita went to the Valdecilla hospital in Santander to study nursing, which was very helpful when she first moved to the United States. But this is another story that I only know secondhand.


3. Conchita and the Holy Eucharist

In the message given on October 18, 1961, the Virgin Mary asked the girls—and by extension all of us—to visit the Blessed Sacrament more frequently. From the beginning to the end, the Eucharistic manifestations of Garabandal were very numerous. Finally, in the message of June 18, 1965, Conchita heard the reproach from heaven which is one of the defining characteristics of Garabandal:  “The Eucharist is no longer given the importance it deserves."

From her childhood until the present day, Conchita has been constant in her devotion to the Eucharist. She promoted adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in her parish in the United States. She also maintains contact with priests such as Father Justo, who promotes perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament throughout the world.

Someone who had the opportunity to be with Conchita in Fatima told me that Conchita normally sits in a secluded place when praying the Rosary on the square. On Thursdays, when there is a Eucharistic procession instead of a procession of Our Lady of Fatima, Conchita finds a way to be as close as possible, looking at Him with great devotion. This is just a continuation of her relationship with the Lord; in our school chapel, when we prayed together, we knelt in the presbytery to be closer to the Tabernacle. 

One unforgettable moment was February 6, 1967 at 11:00 p.m.  It was the night before Conchita’s birthday. We prayed together while all her classmates were already asleep.  On that occasion, Conchita wrote a prayer to the Virgin Mary. I still conserve the text. I'll reveal it here for the first time, without removing a single word:
Mother,
today, the last day of my 17 years, at the end of the day, I want to end everything in me that it is not pleasing to you.  Alone, I am powerless. That’s why I come tonight, to count on you, now and forever. First, I would like to thank you for these 17 years, and I offer them to you, with all my imperfections and good works. I also apologize because I haven't taken advantage of the time given to me. After these 17 years, I want to leave with you my imperfections: laziness; vanity; a bad temper, especially with my family; following my whims; and my lack of charity with some people.  Perhaps also arrogance. I also leave it behind.  And I especially want to offer you tonight the sacrifice of not buying magazines anymore. With your help, I leave all of these things behind; I could not do it alone. Now, turning 18 years old, I would like to live like I have never lived before. I ask you to grant me my greatest wish, that the following virtues come to life in me:  Faith, Hope and Charity, loving you always and at all times, both in suffering and in joy. Grant me docility before others, especially my family. Grant that I be more understanding and generous with God and with everyone. Always, and above all, grant that I might tell only the truth. Grant that I participate in the Holy Mass with fervor and love, and pray the Rosary every day. Grant that I might be always united to God. I want to love you in the midst of suffering, misunderstandings, incomprehension, and annoyances. For everything that you would like to send me, I thank you. Mary, I love you now and forever. Thank you, thank you very much for everything!

Conchita.

Conchita’s Eucharistic devotion was a vigorous practice, without sentimentality. I can say that she had to overcome darkness and dryness on many occasions. Perhaps, to illustrate this better, I will quote a few paragraphs from my journal of conversations with Conchita, so that you can understand well what I mean:
“I would like to suffer for my own problems, not for things about Garabandal, but everything is so intertwined that I cannot act without the apparitions also being mixed in.” “I want to go to my village, but at the same time, I’m sad to leave school. Despite suffering, I’ve been so happy here! We will always have some form of suffering…”  “In my village, there was barely any time for prayer…” “You already know that the other day I experienced great fervor, but then I returned to my state of spiritual dryness. The Eucharist seems to be something representative, but not real.  It seems impossible to me that Christ is there and when I go to communion, I discretely look to see if the same doubt is reflected in other’s faces.  When we receive the benediction with the monstrance, I can only think that it is the hand of the priest who blesses us, never from a real and truly present Christ.”

In the midst of this aridity, she had moments of special clarity and consolation. I left proof of one of those moments in my journal when I wrote down what Conchita told me: “I experienced this sentence: ‘I love you and I have forgiven not some, but all things.’  I felt great joy.”
And on another occasion, Conchita wrote the following experience in her agenda-diary: “Upon receiving Communion, I felt great joy because I felt the presence of the Blessed Virgin with Christ in that moment.”

As I said, the devotion to the Eucharist is something very evident in Conchita's life up until today. I know that during a recent summer, whilst at her home in Fatima, she was visited by a good priest from Galicia with whom she maintains a friendship. During their conversations, Conchita showed him some of the relics in her possession. One very important relic is from Padre Pio. At a certain moment, when the priest mentioned that those material objects were relics, from having been in contact with holy people, he remembered what happened in Garabandal and said: “Conchita you are a living relic," to which she replied immediately “Of course I am! I am a living relic, because I receive Jesus Christ every day in Holy Communion.”


4. Conchita and her devotion to the priesthood

Along with the reproach from heaven about the neglect of the Holy Eucharist, Garabandal is also characterized by its message concerning priests. It is true that, in this case, the heavenly reproach was terrible: “The Angel told me that many Cardinals, bishops, and priests are on the road to perdition, and they take many more souls with them. When the Angel told me this I was very ashamed, and the Angel repeated it to me a second time: ‘Yes, Conchita, many cardinals, bishops and priests are on the road to perdition and take many more souls with them.’” To say such a thing 

 

This was not well-received in the sixties in Spain, and also credit the authorship of the phrase to a messenger from heaven. This also explains the treatment that Conchita received from part of the clergy.   Unfortunately, very shortly thereafter, events did nothing more than affirm the Angel’s message, which was aimed to encourage priests to move decisively towards holiness, to save their soul and so help many Catholics who are spiritually dependent on them.

In no way can Garabandal´s message be interpreted as being disrespectful to the priestly dignity.  On the contrary, Conchita told me and wrote in her diary something that has been published a thousand times:
“The Blessed Virgin told us, that if we saw both an Angel and a priest, we should greet the priest first.” But just as we are certain that Conchita had always recognized the immense dignity of the priesthood, we are also sure that the reality of the lives of some priests leaves much to be desired.   She began to realize this at the time of the apparitions.  On one occasion, Conchita said: “Before the Virgin Mary said this to me, I thought the all priests were good.  I never thought that they committed mortal sin.  I have known many priests, and some of them at first seemed to be saints, and then I saw things that I did not like. I later understood how people can deceive”.  And, of course, during our conversations during her stay at the school, I could see that Conchita was not speaking in general, but in very specific cases.  Moreover, on a certain occasion, Conchita told me that the Virgin Mary had told her that the message that refers to the priests was communicated through the Angel, because it made her so sad to tell her.


 Remembering now specific cases, I want to refer to the Conchita’s relationship with Padre Pio, the capuchin saint of Pietrelcina, who is so linked to Garabandal.  So many things have been said…  It has been affirmed that Conchita never spoke with Padre Pio.  I think that it is worth while saying something about the matter.  During the years I spent in our school of El Escorial, I was in charge of our alumni.  On one occasion, one of them told me that she had been in Garabandal and that she had even seen the girls going coming down from the pines walking backwards. We agreed to continue our conversation and she came with another former pupil and two friends who had not studied at our school.  I told them many things and showed them photos from my files.  When I spoke of Conchita’s trip to Italy to see Padre Pio, organized by Cecilia de Borbón, I showed them a group photograph of Conchita at the Coliseum in Rome, with Aniceta, her mother, Father Luna, Cecilia of Borbón and another lady.  And it was then that one of the guests to our meeting, one of the two who were not former students, stated that she was the young lady in question that appeared in the photo,  at that time she was working as Cecilia de Borbón’s secretary.

 Without doubt Conchita had contact with Padre Pio.  For this reason, I myself wrote to Padre Pio from our school and he replied briefly on January 19, 1968.  I keep his reply as a precious relic from one of the greatest saints of the Church of all time.
I have many memories of Conchita’s prayers and what she does specifically for priests.  For a time, while she was at her house in Fatima, she went daily to an older priest’s residence to volunteer as a cleaning lady.  As on other occasions, she went there using the name of Maria, in order not to be recognized. However, one day someone recognized her and immediately all the resident priests knew that the woman who swept the floors of their residence was Conchita of Garabandal.  From then on, nothing was the same. Conchita told me that when the priests discovered who she was, they changed the way they treated her.  She said she was sorry that they had found out who she was because she felt better serving those elderly priests anonymously.

To summarize what I can say about Conchita’s concept of priests and her devotion to the priesthood, I present a letter written by Conchita which I found among my papers. It was written in reply to a request made by a woman asking for a few words for her son, a priest. The letter was published by the Legion Magazine on November 26, 1967, though it had been written by Conchita four months earlier, when she still was at our school in Burgos. The text reads as follows:
“What the Virgin wants above all from a priest is his own sanctification –that he fulfills his vows for love of God and that he might lead many souls to Him through his example and prayers, for any other way would be difficult now a days. She wants the priest to sacrifice himself for love of souls in Christ;  to withdraw from time to time in silence to listen to God, who speaks to him constantly;  to meditate often on the Passion of Jesus, so that his life can be more united to Christ the High Priest, inviting souls to penance and sacrifice, and also to make more bearable the Cross that Christ sends to each of us. The priest must speak of Mary as the surest way to Christ.  Also, he should make others believe that Heaven and Hell exist. I think that this is what Heaven asks of its priests.”
Ever since she was a child, Conchita had a high opinion of the priesthood.   I was struck, during the conversations when we talked about the isolation in which she lived in Garabandal, by the fact that when I asked what she liked most the few times she went out of the village, she answered, “Seeing so many priests in the town of Comillas.” She didn’t refer to people, to the great buildings in Santander, or the sea…but the joy of seeing so many priests together. She showed her great love for the priesthood many times.


 Madre Nieves García (Madrid, summer of 2012)

Interviews and Testimonies

peman

José María Pemán and Garabandal

Román Martínez del Cerro was an eyewitness of the apparitions at San Sebastián de Garabandal during eleven days in July 1962. His father, Miguel Martínez del Cerro, was a good friend of the prestigious, Spanish writer who cultivated all literary genres: José María Pemán. Both professors worked together in the summer classes at the University of Seville in Cádiz. In this article, Román relates the moment in which his father told José María Pemán about his experience in Garabandal. José María Pemán never stated his opinion publicly on the topic, however it is likely that his friendship and appreciation for Miguel Martínez del Cerro inclined him toward an openness to the possibility of the supernatural character of the events, awaiting the Church’s final statement.

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laffineurFather Laffineur - GARABANDAL MISSIONARY

Father Materne Laffineur was one of the first promoters of the apparitions in Garabandal outside Spain. Witness of several ecstasies, confidant of the seers, zealous priest and of a deep spirituality, he gathered his experiences and reflections on Garabandal in a book entitled The Star on the Mountain.
Sixteen medals received in the two wars he took part in show how much he is worth. We will find his deep spirituality and love for the Virgin of Garabandal in the following passages—taken from his letters and notebooks—included in the remembrance card that were given to his family and friends after his death.
Below, we offer the full translation of Father Laffineur's remembrance card, as a tribute to this priest in love with Most Holy Mary of Garabandal.

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juanhervas

Fr. Gustavo Morelos - The Bishop of Jalapa, Mexico and Garabandal

Fr. Gustavo Morelos was a Mexican priest who passed away on March 7, 2015, at 87 years of age. He had news of what was taking place in San Sebastián de Garabandal in 1965, when the apparitions were in their final stages. He managed to spend nearly three months in Garabandal that very year, studying the phenomena and interviewing the girls, their parents and siblings, and several witnesses. He lived to see his nephew’s surprising recovery from an illness doctors considered hopeless (read the article here). He always attributed this healing to the Virgin of Garabandal. Since then and until his death, he worked to spread the messages of Garabandal.

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juanhervas

Dr. Juan Hervás Palazón

Juan A. Hervás Palazón is a medical physician, university professor and specialist in pediatrics. He has developed his professional life in the United States (Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Harvard Medical School) and in Spain (Valencian Community and Mallorca), where he has been the head of the Pediatric Department in two hospitals. He has recently retired.

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mariasimmaMaria Simma, the Souls in Purgatory, and Garabandal

"It will be something for the conversion of humanity."
There is an interesting book from 1993 entitled, Get Us Out of Here!! Maria Simma Speaks With Nicky Eltz, by Nicky Eltz. It is the finished product of over thirty interviews carried out during about five years. In this book, Maria Simma describes her experiences with candid simplicity and responds wisely to the interviewer’s countless questions. Certainly Maria Simma’s testimony must be studied and evaluated by the Church, and we remit it to the Church’s judgment. Nonetheless, I know several people who have read this book and I can assure that having read it has not left them indifferent. In several moments and manners, this book touches on Our Blessed Mother’s messages and the warnings she gave in the apparitions in San Sebastian de Garabandal. I thought we could benefit greatly studying and reflecting upon them.

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madrenievesMother María de las Nieves García 

"School Memoirs of Conchita" (1966-1968)
In the afternoon, Conchita would come to find me and we would speak in one of the drawing rooms. I never forced her; she came voluntarily.  A Claretian priest, Father Joaquin María Alonso, who was in Fatima studying Lucia's case for the Congregation of the Faith, found out and came to see me more than once. He spoke with the Mother General and told me that I should write down everything that I spoke about with Conchita, and even if 100 years went by, I should not destroy those memoirs.

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padrepioPadre Pio

On March 3, 1962, the four young visionaries, Conchita, Mari Loli, Jacinta, and Mari Cruz, received an anonymous letter in San Sebastián de Garabandal.

“Félix López, a former student of the Major Seminary in Derio (Bilbao, Spain) and later professor in the school in Garabandal, was gathered together with a few others in the kitchen in Conchita’s house.  The girl had received a letter that she did not understand, so she asked Félix to translate it for her.  It was writen in Italian, and Félix, after reading it, said, 'Based on his way of writing, it could be from Padre Pío.'”

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